Tonga Adoptions through WIA
The country of Tonga is a beautiful Island nation located in the South Pacific and is close to Australia and New Zealand. Tonga is in the same general area as other familiar Island nations such as Fiji, Samoa, and the Solomon Islands. Our Tonga adoption program is very unique and is designed for Tongan families living in the U.S. who have a relative or friend living in Tonga who wants to place their child with a family member. These adoptions are normally completed quickly and the timeline from the beginning of the process until the adoption is completed and the child comes home to the U.S. is approximately 6 to 8 months.
The U.S. government has very strict regulations in place for children who are adopted from Tonga. The biological mother of the child being adopted must be unmarried, and must show proof that she cannot support the child being placed for adoption. Children born to a legally married couple are not eligible to be adopted by American citizen families because of United States Citizenship and Immigration Service laws and regulations. There are no age restrictions or current number of children living in the prospective adoptive family’s home. However, USCS regulations require both adopting families and single parents who wish to adopt to be at least 25 years of age. Adopting families must have a completed home study and USCIS approval before beginning the adoption process. Also, travel to Tonga is required and at one of the adopting couples should plan to stay in Tonga for approximately 2 to 3 months.
When a family makes the decision to go forward with an adoption, it is best to call WIA’s office and talk to our Tongan Coordinator before submitting an application to adopt. Our Coordinator can assess their situation and the situation of the child they wish to adopt. If the criteria for both Tonga and USCIS are met by both the prospective adoptive family and the child they wish to adopt, the family can then submit an application to go forward with the adoption process. Once their application is approved, they will be assigned a Case Manager who will help them throughout the adoption process. The first step of the adoption process will be to complete a home study. If you live in the State of Utah, WIA can complete a home study for adoptive parents. If you live outside the State of Utah, we can help you find a home study agency in your state of residence. When families have completed a home study, the home study needs to be approved by WIA and then submitted to USCIS for approval. Your Case Manager will assist you throughout the home study and your USCIS submission.
When your home study is completed and has been approved by both WIA and USCIS, one of the adopting parents must travel to Tonga to begin the adoption process. The actual adoption in Tonga is done through Crown Law, the high court in Tonga, and families usually can either retain an attorney to help them through the process or they can do the adoption process on their own. If a family choses to work with an attorney, often times the adoptive families know of an attorney through their family contacts in Tonga who can help them. WIA also has worked with attorneys in Tonga who are willing to help families with the adoption process and can help families locate an attorney if desired. Once the adoptive parent is in Tonga, the paperwork can be gathered and presented to the court to petition for the adoption. When the judge reviews and approves the paperwork, a legal adoption decree will be issued and the adoption is completed.
The family will provide the following documents to the court:
- Letter stating why they want to adopt the child
- Original copy of their home study
- Copies of birth certificates and marriage license
- Letter from the Ecclesiastical leader stating the situation of the birth mother including the fact that neither she nor her family can support the child, that the bio mother wats the child to be adopted, and knows she will never see the child again. The person writing the letter also needs to state the fact that according to his knowledge the bio mother has not been paid money, given promises of gifts in the future, or been coerced to place her child for adoption.
- Copies of financial records – bank accounts, savings accounts, etc.
- Termination of parental rights of the biological mother
- Affidavit from the bio mother stating she wants to place her child for adoption
- Guardian ad Litem report
- Child’s original birth certificate
- Child’s new birth certificate once the adoption is finalized
- Oder of adoption
Once the adoption has been finalized, the adoptive parents must then complete and submit the I-600 and accompanying documents. When the I-600 has been approved the adoptive parent who is in Tonga must then fly to Fiji for an appointment with the U.S. Consulate in order to obtain the child’s U.S. visa. Once the visa is issued, the child can come home to the U.S.
Application Fee – $500
Program Fee – $2,500
Home Study, Utah families – $1,400
Home Study Review for out of state families – $150
Placement Fee – $2,000 for 1st child – each additional child thereafter $1,000
Post Placement Fee – $800 Utah families
Post Placement Fee non-Utah families – $600
I-600A submission – $720
Fingerprints – $85/per person
Medical Exam, U.S. Visa for adopted child – 425
Court Fees – $20
Attorney Fees (if desired) – $200-500
- To Tonga ≈$1800 per person/round trip
- To Fiji ≈ $350 to $500 per person/one way flight
- Child’s flight to Fiji ≈ $32 infant, children $350 to $500 one way
Accommodations ≈$150-300 per day/per person
Maintenance and Oversight Fee: The Federal accrediting agency requires that all adoptive parents pay a $500 per child maintenance and oversight fee. This fee is due with the signed contracts. If you decide to adopt more than one child after initial application, you will be billed at the time you accept a second referral. This fee is paid to the Federal accrediting entity monthly and is non-refundable.